THF Hosts 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable in NYC

On Wednesday, September 21, the T. Howard Foundation held its 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable at PwC in New York City.  The event  was hosted by THF board member, Ken Sharkey, Partner, Entertainment Media & Communications, PwC.

More than 16 leading media, entertainment, advertising and marketing companies were represented, including A+E Networks, Bloomberg, Grey, HBO, NBCUniversal, Publicis Media, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom.

THF’s HR Diversity Roundtable provides a platform for human resources, talent acquisition and diversity & inclusion professionals to discuss best practices, challenges and the value of recruiting and retaining diverse talent. It also provides THF with valuable insight to enhance our programs, assist our partners with identifying qualified, diverse talent and promote the achievement of their diversity goals.

We are grateful to our partners for their ongoing support and for helping to make the HR Diversity Roundtable a staple among Diversity Week events!

 

Jasmine Shockness: From THF Intern to Rising Star

Jasmine Shockness was a 2011 T. Howard Foundation intern for NBCUniversal’s content distribution department. She currently works as Manager, Sales and Business Development for Viacom Media Networks in New York. Jasmine was honored at the 2016 T. Howard Foundation Diversity Awards Dinner as this year’s “Rising Star.”

Jasmine’s thoughts on working in the media industry and how THF helped get her there, in her own words:

Current Job Responsibilities
My responsibilities as Manager, Sales and Business Development at Viacom are to build and maintain relationships with clients, including affiliates, as well as Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. I also work to find new business opportunities for the company.

Homework Doesn’t End When School’s Over
One of the executives I worked with stressed the importance of doing “homework”—being prepared for every meeting you’re in and every introduction you’re going to make. I always “google” people before I meet them, and I’ve found that it has allowed me to be successful with my clients. Just knowing a little bit about them before meeting has really made a difference, even knowing what client representatives look like.

Your Work Colleagues are Your Network
The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with amazing people. I have been extremely fortunate to work with a group of people who encourage me and teach me new things. I think it’s great to have a network of people who want me to be better because it makes the company better.

THF Offers Unique Resources
One of the greatest things THF has is an abundance of resources for their interns and alumni. Sometimes people forget what a great resource THF is, and they fail to utilize it. If you use the strategies you learned as a THF intern, make yourself known to the THF staff and your intern class, you’ll never know where you and your peers will end up professionally.

 

800 Media Professionals Celebrate Industry Diversity Strides at THF’s Annual Awards Dinner and Fundraiser

Russell Simmons, John Ridley among awards presenters

For the 23rd year, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) brought together top media industry leaders at its annual Diversity Awards Dinner—but this year was different. Nearly 800—a record—media and entertainment professionals attended and supported THF and its programs for minority college students and young professionals seeking careers in media.

At the Diversity Awards Dinner, which took place on Wednesday, March 23 at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street, THF recognized HBO and ABC for outstanding leadership in the area of diversity. Additionally, THF saluted its most recent internship program class and new hires, and acknowledged the internship host companies and employers.

“In 2015, THF placed 106 students in paid internships in the industry. The same year, 43 THF Internship Program alumni were hired into the industry, with an additional hired outside of media by such respected companies as Accenture, KPMG and Deloitte,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO.

Jasmine Shockness (THF ’11), Manager of Sales and Business Development at Viacom, spoke to attendees about her journey from THF intern at NBCUniversal to a full-time employee in the media industry. Shockness was acknowledged as THF’s 2016 Rising Star.

Russell Simmons, entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist, presented THF’s Corporate Excellence Award to his friend and colleague, Richard Plepler, Chairman & CEO of HBO. Simmons recounted his long-standing friendship with Plepler and professional relationship with HBO.

Accepting the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, was Academy Award winner John Ridley. Dungey is the first African American to head a major network, and Ridley is the creator and executive producer of ABC’s “American Crime,” for which he has received an Emmy.

Additionally, THF presented two Diversity Partner Awards to Crown Media Family Networks and Microsoft Corporation. Bill Abbott, Crown Media’s President & CEO and Martin Sacchi, General Manager, Business Development, Media & Entertainment Group at Microsoft Corporation accepted the awards. Both companies have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

During the evening, THF presented a silent auction with more than 30 items and exciting experiences donated by companies supporting the dinner, including tickets to a seven-day Disney Cruise, 2017 Super Bowl, season finale of “Project Runway,” and tapings of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

Diversity Awards Dinner emcee, Juju Chang, Co-Anchor of ABC News’s “Nightline” led a live auction during dinner, featuring tickets to the 2017 college football championship game and a private 10-person dinner at the Food Network Kitchen and Studios.

A spontaneous live auction surprise happened when Mark Kang, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Distribution at INSP, took to the stage and auctioned off tickets to a Rihanna concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The generous winner gave the four tickets to THF interns.

Earlier in the day, THF hosted its 2nd annual Diversity Meet & Greet for New York-based Internship Program alumni who are actively seeking full-time positions in the media industry. Human resources representatives and recruiters from AMC Networks, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Grey Group, HBO, Reuters and Viacom gave presentations and networked with more than 30 THF alumni.

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THF Continues Investment in Alumni Career Pursuits with Scott Weiss Scholarship

The T. Howard Foundation (THF) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship, an annual merit-based award granted to eligible alumni of THF’s Internship Program.

Now in its 17th year, the alumni scholarship provides eligible former interns with financial assistance for their academic and career pursuits, including college tuition, textbooks and/or expenses related to professional development, such as conferences and workshops that help prepare recipients for a career in the media industry.

This year, THF awarded $15,000 in scholarships, and individual scholarships can range up to $3,000.

The scholarship is named in honor of Scott Weiss, THF founder and Chairman Emeritus. He is currently CEO and Owner of Speakeasy, a THF partner company.

2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship Award Recipients are (including current institution, expected undergraduate graduation year, THF internship program year and internship host company):

  • Eric Chavous (University of Pittsburgh, MBA and Law student), THF ’15, Paramount Pictures
  • Nicole Dei (University of Maryland, College Park, Broadcast Journalism, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Paul DiNapoli (University of Pennsylvania, Economics/Political Science,’17), THF ’15, Comcast Corporation
  • Robyn Green (University of Michigan, Communications, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Ying Ting Hu (SUNY Binghamton University, Economics/Psychology, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Nazifa Nasim (Fordham University, Business Administration, ’17), THF ’15, Discovery Communications
  • Dorisa Rodney (Pennsylvania State University, Advertising, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Isabelle Thenor-Louis (Brown University, Anthropology, ’16), THF ’15, Viacom (BET)
  • Lyn Tran (Brown University, Economics, ’17), THF ’15, Univision

 

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Get Noticed in Media Industry with T. Howard Foundation Internship

Shayla Cole (Scripps Networks)

Shayla Cole (THF ’14, ’15), a senior at University of Pennsylvania, interned at Scripps Networks and VH1.

If you’re a minority college sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student, apply to the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program. Applications are due no later than December 1, 2015.

If I had to use one word to describe what the process is like for securing an internship in the media and entertainment industry, it would be: HARD. With so many people applying to internships via the online application portals of major media companies, it can feel like your resume can easily become lost in a black hole with thousands of other applications. Well, at least that’s how I felt. Luckily, being admitted into the T. Howard Foundation talent pool changed everything for me.

It was as if the T. Howard Foundation (THF) reached into that black hole of applications, pulled mine out, and placed it on the desks of hiring managers at dozens of prestigious media companies. In other words, THF acted as the liaison to make sure my application was actually seen. As a result, I secured multiple interviews at a number of top media companies, and ultimately received an offer for my first media internship in the Content Distribution & Marketing department at Scripps Networks Interactive in New York. Sure, anyone can apply to these internships on his or her own, but having THF advocate on your behalf makes a world of difference.

But T. Howard Foundation benefits don’t stop at securing internships in the media Shayla Cole_1industry. Once I was chosen as an intern at Scripps Network, my experience as a THF intern versus the experience of a “regular” intern proved to be quite different. Starting with THF’s Summer Intern Orientation, the Foundation provided me with a network of fellow interns, a mentor working in the media industry and numerous other networking opportunities.

I suddenly found myself in a situation where my network of intern friends extended beyond the walls of Scripps Network, to a variety of top media companies throughout New York City and other major cities across the country. There was even a T. Howard Foundation New York Intern GroupMe where we planned social gatherings, shared our daily internship experiences and posted interesting opportunities.

As a THF intern in 2014, I was able to rejoin the talent pool in 2015 and was offered another internship at Viacom, working in the consumer marketing department for VH1.

The T. Howard Foundation opens doors for minority college students to be noticed in all aspects of the media industry. This type of opportunity creates job prospects for after graduation, leading to a fulfilling career in media.

Shayla Cole (THF ’14, ’15) is a senior marketing and operations management major at University of Pennsylvania. She is a fall intern at NBCUniversal in the ad sales department in New York, commuting from Philadelphia to the internship twice a week. Shayla is also a co-chair for THF’s Campus Ambassador Program, recruiting other students to apply to the Internship Program.

THF Invests in Students with 2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship

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The T. Howard Foundation is happy to announce the recipients of the 2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship, an annual merit-based award granted to eligible alumni of THF’s Internship Program.

Now in its 16th year, the THF alumni scholarship provides eligible former interns with financial assistance for their academic and career pursuits, including college tuition, textbooks and/or expenses related to professional development, such as conferences and workshops that help prepare recipients for a career in the media industry.

“Awarding the Scott Weiss Scholarship is another way that the T. Howard Foundation demonstrates its commitment and support of our alumni,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO. “We are proud to invest in our students’ future success in the media industry.”

This year, THF awarded $15,000 in scholarships, and individual scholarships can range up to $2,500.

2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship Award Recipients (including current institution, expected undergraduate graduation year, THF internship program year and internship host company):

  • Jillian Baker (University of Southern California ’16), THF ’14, Viacom (BET Networks)
  • Ramone Farrier (San Jose State University ’16), THF ’14, HBO
  • Alexandria Fontanez (SUNY New Paltz ’14), THF ’13 and ’14, A+E Networks
  • Alexandra Givan (University of Maryland, College Park ’16), THF ’14, National Cable & Telecommunications Association
  • Claytia Gonsalves (Georgetown University ’15), THF ’14, Scripps Networks
  • Pearly Hidron (Baruch College ’15), THF ’14, NBCUniversal
  • Gabrielle LeGendre (Penn State University ’15), THF ’14, Viacom
  • Odalis Lopez (University of Maryland, College Park), THF ’13 and ’14, HBO
  • Asia Nelson (Brown University ’15), THF ’14, BBC Worldwide America
  • Danyel Semple (Georgetown University ’15), THF ’13 and ’14, BBC Worldwide America and HBO

Alumni Spotlight: Christian Ortega–On the Path to Success

Christian_Ortega“I had just graduated college when I started my T. Howard internship. I was a day late for orientation in Silver Spring because I was participating in my graduation ceremony.”

As Christian Ortega reflects on the start of his T. Howard Foundation internship, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native would have never imagined that after he crossed the stage in 2011 and received his bachelor’s degree from Baruch College that his next step would be working at Viacom. “I wanted to get into accounting but I lost interest in it and opted to earn a marketing degree,” he stated.

His interest in pursuing a career in the media industry was sparked by another internship during the Fall 2010 semester at MTV Networks. Although he had gained some experience, Christian still felt uncertain on how to leverage his degree in marketing in the media industry.

He learned about the T. Howard Foundation’s Internship Program from the career services department at Baruch, applied, and landed the internship with Viacom. Christian says that his THF experience gave him the opportunity to explore one of the largest media companies and find his niche. “I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry in some capacity and T. Howard helped steer me into ad sales.”

Most college students aspire to land a job by graduation and many view postgraduate internships negatively. Christian also had some reservations about being an intern with a degree. “It was scary because it was an internship. It wasn’t a full time job, so I knew what I had to do. I knew that I had to market and position myself to be offered a full-time entry-level job.”

While working on projects for Nickelodeon (a Viacom network), he managed to schedule several informational interviews with executives throughout the company. Christian says that his supervisors encouraged and sometimes assisted him in scheduling meetings that allowed him to gain exposure to several of Viacom’s networks and truly maximize his internship experience.

One of his most important takeaways from his time at Viacom was the knowledge he gained about sales. Christian says, “I learned a lot about the affiliate and national ad sales, subscription fees and the negotiations that can carry on for months.”

His initiative during the summer internship had a direct link to his first full-time job in the industry. In March 2012, he was hired as a Sales Assistant at Discovery Communications, resulting from his relationship with THF. Christian became aware of the opportunity through the Foundation’s alumni listserv. He touts the Foundation to students for helping him to launch his career. “If you are eager and you really want to be in the media and entertainment industry, T. Howard is a great way to get your foot in the door; they have fantastic contacts. It’s just an outstanding resource for any young minority who wants to get into the industry.”

Christian worked on national accounts for Investigation Discovery and TLC for 18 months before accepting the position of Sales Planner at 20th Century Fox in 2013.

He values THF’s mission of diversifying the media industry, and feels the responsibility to mentor students in the same way he was supported as a college student.